DIREITO CORPORATIVO
São Paulo
Rio de Janeiro
Belo Horizonte
Natal
São Paulo | Brasil
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 1461 - 16° andar – Torre Sul
01452-002 São Paulo | SP
Tel.: +55 (11) 2714-6900 Fax: +55 (11) 2714-6901
www.almeidalaw.com.br
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY ON SOFTWARE AGREEMENTS
Rafael Pavan
rpavan@almeidalaw.com.br
Collaborators:
Ana Carolina Renda
Cassio Augusto Ambrogi
In Brazilian law, rules that govern the
limitation of liability have suffered many
changes due to the institution of the new
Civil Code1, which directly affected the
pacta sunt servanda principle, by which
the parties are completely bond and
subject to the terms and conditions of the
agreement executed.
It is important to emphasize that before the
institution of the Code above mentioned
there were already some microsystems
that considerably mitigated the effects of
such principle, disclaiming or limiting
clauses commonly used in most
agreements, as for example the nonindemnity clause.
In this sense, the Consumer Protection
Code considers abusive any clause that
contains impediment for supplier to
indemnify the consumer, such clause
being considered as legally void and its
inclusion in any contract as illegitimate2.
The current Civil Code, following this
tendency, also established rules in order
to reduce the enforceability of clauses that
completely bind the parties to the terms of
the agreement, taking into consideration
the principle of the social function of the
contract.
The doctrine opinion is that the contract
will be compliant to its social function
when the parties are guided by solidarity
values (Federal Constitution, art. 3, item I),
social justice (Federal Constitution, art.
170 caput), free enterprise, the human
dignity is respected (Federal Constitution,
art. 1, item III) and the environmental
values are not offended3.
On the other hand, the social function
would not be compliant if: a) the
obligations of a party are excessive or
disproportionate, exceeding the risk of the
deal b) there is excessive advantage for
one party c) occurs a breach of the
objective or subjective basis of the
contract, among other reasons4.
Thus, in attention to the principle referred
herein, the inclusion of a limitation of
liability clause on an agreement is
perfectly acceptable whatever its nature is.
The intention of the Brazilian legislator
through the innovations brought by the
Civil Code was to limit the enforceability of
contracts executed by the parties in cases
when the benefits established for one of
the parties are or become extremely
3
1
Law 10.406/02
2
Consumer Protection Code, articles 25 and 51,
item I.
Rio de Janeiro | Brasil
Av. Rio Branco, 14 - 10º andar
20090-000 Rio de Janeiro | RJ
Tel.: +55 (21) 2223-1504 Fax: +55 (21) 2223-1504
NERY JUNIOR, Nelson e NERY, Rosa Maria de
Andrade. Código Civil Anotado e Legislação
Extravagante. São Paulo: Editora RT, 2003
4
Idem nota 3.
Belo Horizonte | Brasil
R. Maranhão, 1694 - 3º andar
30150-331 Belo Horizonte | MG
Tel.: +55 (31) 3227-5566 Fax: +55 (31) 3227-3669
Natal | Brasil
R. Paulo Barros de Góes, 1840 – cj. 1301
59064-460 Natal | RN
Tel.: +55 (84) 3206-1278 Fax: +55 (84) 3606-0778
DIREITO CORPORATIVO
São Paulo
Rio de Janeiro
Belo Horizonte
Natal
São Paulo | Brasil
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 1461 - 16° andar – Torre Sul
01452-002 São Paulo | SP
Tel.: +55 (11) 2714-6900 Fax: +55 (11) 2714-6901
www.almeidalaw.com.br
disproportionate when compared to the
other party5.
agreed, among many
limitations of liability.
That does not mean, however, that the
limitation of liability clause included on an
agreement will be immediately considered
null due to violation of the mentioned
principle of social function.
Therefore, unlikely what a less careful
analysis of this matter could suggest, the
inclusion of limitation of liability on
contracts does not violate the principle of
social function of the contract. Instead, it
allows the accomplishment of the
agreement at much as possible being the
parties subject to similar conditions.
The "Software Legislation” which rules the
protection of the intellectual property of
softwares establishes that the clauses that
do not allow the institution of liability
between
the
parties
on
license
6
agreements will be considered void .
Therefore, not only because of what is
determined by the Civil Code, but also
because of the specific law regarding
software copyright protection, it is perfectly
acceptable and deemed valid, for
example, the inclusion of a clause that
establishes the liability of a party up to the
annual value of a contract considering the
year of the breach, or, as another
example, limits the liability of a party up to
the value of the principal obligation
other
possible
Almeida Advogados has a staff with
expertise in Information Technology, as
well as in elaboration and analysis of
contracts, and remains at your disposal to
provide any other information regarding
the matter discussed herein.
5
This is the interpretation we deem more suitable
for Article 2035 and sole paragraph of Civil Code:
"Art 2035: The validity of business and other legal
acts executed before the effectiveness of the
present Code, are ruled by the provisions of
previous laws, as referred in art. 2045, but their
effects, produced after the effective date of this
Code are subject to its provisions, unless otherwise
established by the parties. Sole paragraph: No
agreement will prevail if it violates principles of
public policy, such as those established by this
Code to ensure the social function of property and
contracts."
6
Article 10 of Law Nº. 9.609/98. Acts and license
agreements for marketing rights related to softwares
of foreign origin shall establish, regarding the taxes
and charges, the liability for their payments and set
the remuneration of the software rights’ owner
resident or domiciled abroad.
Paragraph 1. The clauses will be considered null if:
II - exempt any of the contractors from the liability
for any lawsuits filed by third parties arising out of
defects or violation of copyright.
Rio de Janeiro | Brasil
Av. Rio Branco, 14 - 10º andar
20090-000 Rio de Janeiro | RJ
Tel.: +55 (21) 2223-1504 Fax: +55 (21) 2223-1504
Belo Horizonte | Brasil
R. Maranhão, 1694 - 3º andar
30150-331 Belo Horizonte | MG
Tel.: +55 (31) 3227-5566 Fax: +55 (31) 3227-3669
Natal | Brasil
R. Paulo Barros de Góes, 1840 – cj. 1301
59064-460 Natal | RN
Tel.: +55 (84) 3206-1278 Fax: +55 (84) 3606-0778
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